49/52 – Traditions
Like parents all around the world, I like to trek my kid to sit on Santa’s lap for an obligatory holiday photo. I’m not even sure how we’re going to handle the Santa-thing yet, but somehow, I’ve conspired with the rest of North American culture and have thrown her smack-dab in the middle of something.
Side note – I hate lying, and to me, the Santa myth as it’s moved beyond a myth is one big lie we tell our kids and we don’t want any part of lying about Santa. I’m still crushed till this day to think that my parents lied to me and that deception dampened the Christmas spirit and made it an entirely commercial holiday for many years. We need to better figure out how to deal with this Santa-thing, or find a better way to reveal the truth in years from now if we do fully opt to buy-in and carry this through.
Despite my Santa moral conflict, I still trekked my kid to the mall to sit on his lap. In the least, this was a real person in a costume dressed up as a Santa Claus. I may have even referred to him as the “man dressed as Santa” a few times in passing just to try it on for size.
A lot can change in a year. Here’s the Doodle’s very first picture with Santa in 2011. She’s about 8 months old here. This was taken right before she pretty much entered her shy phase, which really was more of stage, that lasted about a year and half.
The next Christmas, in 2012, the Doodle was a little over a year and a half, and terrified of strangers. She didn’t even touch Santa in this picture.
Over the course of the past year, now that we have complete language capabilities around these parts, every time the Doodle saw this picture she’d state, “Santa scary!” in a scared voice. Which eventually morphed into “Santa scary!!!” followed by laughter at her earlier reaction.
This year when I suggested a Santa photo and whisked her to mall in that window of opportunity between daycare and dinner, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The Doodle was excited about seeing Santa. Until it was our turn, then she turned a little shy, but after his first ‘ho ho ho’ she crawled up on his lap and then charmed his pants off. She talked and talked and talked. And talked and talked and talked.
The mall Santa, who was incredible, was regaled with tales of our Christmas tree, how she wanted a batman shirt for Christmas, and so on. I couldn’t hear them clearly, but she kept on making him laugh. I’m not sure he entirely understood her as now that she’s communicating in two languages her annunciation in either isn’t too clear. You couldn’t tell. This Santa was a pro. He appeared to be attentively absorbing each and every word.
I was too flabbergasted that my formerly ‘glued to Mommy’s leg in the presence of anyone other than Mommy’ child was happily chatting away with a Mommy-approved stranger. What confidence! I was so impressed and proud of my little toddler.